At least 3 times a week, or more, for a minimum of half an hour at a time, ideally in the fresh air. The simplest thing to do is to walk. If you have the energy, walk briskly for half an hour at a time. If you can do more, try alternating brisk walking with running, then walk, then run. Apparently this is what the Roman Army did to conquer the world! However, be careful never to overdo it. Never push or exhaust yourself. Work within your limits, however modest these may be.
The main thing is to choose a form of exercise you like and can do easily, and at home if necessary. Try putting on music and dancing; rebounding, (mini-trampolines); swimming; tennis; golf. Start slowly, and build up. Stay with it. Exercise gives you energy over time. If aerobic, it raises “endorphin” levels – the pleasure hormones – and therefore counters depression. It oxygenates your body properly, and, since cancer cells are anaerobic, they hate oxygen. For this reason, breathing exercises are also beneficial, and can be done even when exercise is impossible. If you are not in great pain and/or discomfort, you can do the following even whilst bed-bound:
IN THIS SECTION
Deep Breathing Exercise
- Lie your back, as flat as possible.
- Breathing through your nose, very slowly fill first your tummy with as much air as it will hold, then go on to fill your chest cavity with the same breath.
- At the height of the breath, hold it for a count of 1 to 2 seconds.
- Slowly, and in a controlled fashion, release the air through your open mouth. (This can be noisy).
- Before beginning again, pause once more for another count of 1 to 2.
- Carry on for as long as you feel the need. A minimum of 10 such deep breaths is recommended. The pauses are essential to avoid hyperventilating. The body takes these pauses naturally when you are not controlling your breath.
- If you also count the breaths the concentration required is a form of meditation. Deep breathing exercises for 5, 10 to 20 minutes are an instant tonic, both calming and energising. They are good to do before sleep, or if insomnia is a problem. You can follow the deep breathing with a total body relaxation and visualisation session.
10 Minute De-Stressing Exercise
Sit in a comfortable armchair, lounge on a sofa, or lie on the floor/bed. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and let it go. Feel all your tension and tiredness flow out with the breath, feel it drain down and out through your limbs, feel yourself growing warm and very heavy all over. Sink into the ground or chair. Now work round your body and feel each part grow warm and very heavy, feet to knees, thighs, lower back, chest, arms, head. Drop/relax your jaw. Feel your forehead smoothen. Now go round again tightening groups of muscles, as hard as possible. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds then release and relax. Repeat this several times till you feel really free of tension. Finish with a good cat stretch. Go back to what you were doing. Repeat the exercise as needed. This is good also last thing at night.